US Oil Prices Rally On Weak Dollar, Contract Expiration
NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices rose to near one-month highs on Monday as a weak dollar prompted buying a day before the June contract's expiration, while Brent prices fell as slumping global equities outweighed the impact of low Libyan output.
The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level in more than three months against the yen, which is supportive for oil and commodities priced in dollars.
Asian and European equities fell after data released late on Sunday showed growth in average new home prices in China slowed to a near one-year low in April.
Meanwhile, Libya's major western oilfields, El Sharara and El Feel, remained shut a week after the government said it reached a deal with protesters to reopen them. National output has been capped at 210,000 barrels per day (bpd), far below the 1.4 million bpd produced until mid-2013.
Heavily armed men stormed the parliament in Libya's capital of Tripoli on Sunday and demanded its suspension, causing Saudi Arabia to close its embassy and the Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach to order its 50 workers to leave the country on Monday.
U.S. crude for June delivery settled 59 cents up at $102.61 a barrel, its highest settlement since April 22, on light trading volume ahead of its expiration on Tuesday. The July contract settled 53 cents higher at $102.11 a barrel.
Brent crude settled 38 cents lower at $109.37 a barrel, having climbed to an earlier intra-session high of $110.33 a barrel on the violence in Libya.
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